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Re: About dwarves and their connection with nordic myth ...

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  • William Cloud Hicklin
    Hmmm. Is it remotely possible, I wonder, that the names suggested a story to Tolkien as he was writing App.A: Of the Dwarves? After all, the process of
    Message 1 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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      Hmmm. Is it remotely possible, I wonder, that the names
      "suggested a story" to Tolkien as he was writing App.A: Of
      the Dwarves? After all, the process of writing the history
      and the family tree implies that he was once again sifting
      through Voluspa (in bound form or from memory). Balin and
      Glóin are, for reasons stated, the two non-royal dwarves
      mentioned in connection with the battle. Could it be that
      you're right: these names in fact did inspire the Great Pyre?


      --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Swain" <theswain@...>
      wrote:
      >
      >
      > >
      > >
      > > > I'm afraid that this is most likely a coincidence.
      > >
      > > This is basically just what I was going to say as well.
      But I'm
      > > curious to hear about some of your other findings /
      theories,
      > > Anglin. I sort of got the feeling we were joining a
      conversation
      > > already in progress, but I'm doing work in this area
      myself, so I'd
      > > be curious to hear more about your work off-list (as you
      suggested
      > > it was too complicated for the list). Drop me a line if
      you'd like
      > > to chat more about this ...
      >
      > I'd actually be interested in this too, I'm preparing
      lecture notes on Tolkien's dwarves for a Tolkien class I'm
      teaching next semester.
      >
      > --
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    • Jason Fisher
      ... Yes, I agree with Larry. It s not beyond the realm of possibility, but I think it far more likely that Tolkien got the names directly from the Old Norse
      Message 2 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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        >> Dear Anglin,
        >>
        >> And what about the suggestion I made (the conference at the ENS Ulm
        >> you attended, in May '05) that Tolkien might have found names in
        >> re-writings of Chrétien de Troyes's romances ? I remember well a
        >> Belin and a Meliadoc in his Erec and Enid. Did you have a look at
        >> Malory ?

        > You know, I kind of doubt it. Possible of course. But Chretien's names are
        > derived either through French from English/Norse or through French from
        > Brittonic... more likely to my mind that Tolkien derived the names from the
        > original languages than from the intermediary sources....though certainly he
        > was familiar enough with the Arthurian tradition.

        Yes, I agree with Larry. It's not beyond the realm of possibility, but I think it far more likely that Tolkien got the names directly from the Old Norse than through a French intermediary. Many of the hobbit names seem to have come from the Continent, but the dwarves' names almost certainly didn't.

        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Jason Fisher
        ... It could be. Tolkien tended to start with a name, puzzling over its meaning, and a story often developed out of those linguistic musings. The fact that he
        Message 3 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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          > Hmmm. Is it remotely possible, I wonder, that the names
          > "suggested a story" to Tolkien as he was writing App.A: Of
          > the Dwarves? After all, the process of writing the history
          > and the family tree implies that he was once again sifting
          > through Voluspa (in bound form or from memory). Balin and
          > Glóin are, for reasons stated, the two non-royal dwarves
          > mentioned in connection with the battle. Could it be that
          > you're right: these names in fact did inspire the Great Pyre?

          It could be. Tolkien tended to start with a name, puzzling over its meaning, and a story often developed out of those linguistic musings. The fact that he chose Balin as a name for a dwarf in The Hobbit, of course, would have had nothing to do with this (being many years earlier), but the etymology of the name could indeed have brought this particular dwarf back into the forefront of his story-making later.

          Jason Fisher

          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Larry Swain
          ... Just enquiring about the last statement....The hobbit names came from the Continent? Bracegirdles, Proudfoot, Baggins are Continental names? I ve done
          Message 4 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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            Jason wrote:

            >
            > Yes, I agree with Larry. It's not beyond the realm of possibility,
            > but I think it far more likely that Tolkien got the names directly
            > from the Old Norse than through a French intermediary. Many of the
            > hobbit names seem to have come from the Continent,

            Just enquiring about the last statement....The hobbit names came from the Continent? Bracegirdles, Proudfoot, Baggins are Continental names? I've done any sort of name-study, esp of the hobbits, so I'm curious.

            ljs

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          • William Cloud Hicklin
            ... possibility, ... names directly ... Many of the ... names came from the Continent? Bracegirdles, Proudfoot, Baggins are Continental names? I ve done any
            Message 5 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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              --- In mythsoc@yahoogroups.com, "Larry Swain" <theswain@...>
              wrote:
              >
              >
              >
              > Jason wrote:
              >
              > >
              > > Yes, I agree with Larry. It's not beyond the realm of
              possibility,
              > > but I think it far more likely that Tolkien got the
              names directly
              > > from the Old Norse than through a French intermediary.
              Many of the
              > > hobbit names seem to have come from the Continent,
              >
              > Just enquiring about the last statement....The hobbit
              names came from the Continent? Bracegirdles, Proudfoot,
              Baggins are Continental names? I've done any sort of name-
              study, esp of the hobbits, so I'm curious.


              Not the surnames, the rather pretentious given names of the
              Great Holes: Fredegar, Isengrim, Odavacar etc. Although I
              believe he cribbed the Brandybucks' names (Meriadoc,
              Gorbadoc, Saradoc) from Medieval Welsh.
              >
              > ljs
              >
              > --
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            • Jason Fisher
              ... Right. And the source I think I was remembering (though there may have been other places I ve read about thism too) is Jim Allan s chapter, The Giving of
              Message 6 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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                > Not the surnames, the rather pretentious given names of the
                > Great Holes: Fredegar, Isengrim, Odavacar etc. Although I
                > believe he cribbed the Brandybucks' names (Meriadoc,
                > Gorbadoc, Saradoc) from Medieval Welsh.

                Right. And the source I think I was remembering (though there may have been other places I've read about thism too) is Jim Allan's chapter, "The Giving of Names", in An Introduction to Elvish. The section on Hobbits' names is pp. 190-212 and contains lots of interesting details.

                Jason Fisher

                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Jason Fisher
                ... I just confirmed the dim recollection that the topic Carolingians in the Tolkien Encyclopedia comments on this as well. One of Mr. Lobdell s many
                Message 7 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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                  > Right. And the source I think I was remembering (though there
                  > may have been other places I've read about thism too) is Jim
                  > Allan's chapter, "The Giving of Names", in An Introduction to
                  > Elvish. The section on Hobbits' names is pp. 190-212 and
                  > contains lots of interesting details.

                  I just confirmed the dim recollection that the topic "Carolingians" in the Tolkien Encyclopedia comments on this as well. One of Mr. Lobdell's many entries.

                  Jason

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • not_thou
                  I m out of my depth here, but can suggest some sources to check: Regarding Hobbit first names, Arden Smith, citing Tolkien himself (in LotR s Appendix F?),
                  Message 8 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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                    I'm out of my depth here, but can suggest some sources to check:

                    Regarding Hobbit first names, Arden Smith, citing Tolkien himself (in
                    LotR's Appendix F?), talks a little about derivation of Took/Bolger
                    personal names from ?Lombardic and Gothic in his paper in the
                    Blackwelder collection, "Tolkienian Gothic".

                    Regarding Hobbit last names, David Bratman presented a very
                    entertaining paper at Birmingham in 2005 called "Hobbit Names Aren't
                    from Kentucky", noting the last names were generally English but
                    sometimes used more for sound than for sense, if I recall correctly.
                    Has / will that paper be published?

                    Regarding the dwarves' names... well, I was about to misremember a
                    passage from Tolkien's letters, but I see that John Rateliff and
                    Anglin Turkam thoroughly covered that subject earlier in this thread
                    ("rabble of Eddaic-named Dwarves", etc. -- *Must remember to read
                    backwards in the threads.*) As noted by others, this doesn't negate
                    the possiblity of Tolkien folding in motifs from other sources when
                    he returned to the dwarves for Appendix A, III -- but has anyone
                    checked HoMe XII on this point? Also, noting Turkam's speculation of
                    possible meanings for some dwarf names, is it true, as the (groan)
                    Encyclopedia of Arda says, that "Dwalin" could mean "dawdler" in Old
                    Norse? And could that explain the exceptionally long life of the
                    first dwarf to appear in The Hobbit?

                    Side-note: I'm not very familiar with message etiquette in group-
                    lists: what's the preferred procedure for retaining or changing
                    subject lines as the conversation drifts away from the original
                    topic? Would it have been more or less helpful to readers for me to
                    have changed the subject line of this message from "About dwarves and
                    their connection with Nordic myth" to something like "Dwarf and
                    hobbit names"?

                    -Merlin DeTardo


                    >--- "William Cloud Hicklin" <solicitr@...> wrote:
                    >>--- "Larry Swain" <theswain@> wrote:
                    >>>--- Jason wrote:
                    >>> Yes, I agree with Larry. It's not beyond the realm of
                    possibility, but I think it far more likely that Tolkien got the
                    names directly from the Old Norse than through a French
                    intermediary. Many of the hobbit names seem to have come from the
                    Continent,
                    >>Just enquiring about the last statement....The hobbit names came
                    from the Continent? Bracegirdles, Proudfoot, Baggins are Continental
                    names? I've done any sort of name-study, esp of the hobbits, so I'm
                    curious.
                    >Not the surnames, the rather pretentious given names of the Great
                    Holes: Fredegar, Isengrim, Odavacar etc. Although I believe he
                    cribbed the Brandybucks' names (Meriadoc, Gorbadoc, Saradoc) from
                    Medieval Welsh.
                  • Jason Fisher
                    ... That may be true, yes. Zoëga has: dvala, v. to delay, put off dvalan, f. prolongation And other similar words. I ve also seen the meaning torpid but
                    Message 9 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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                      > Also, noting Turkam's speculation of possible meanings for
                      > some dwarf names, is it true, as the (groan) Encyclopedia of
                      > Arda says, that "Dwalin" could mean "dawdler" in Old Norse?
                      > And could that explain the exceptionally long life of the first
                      > dwarf to appear in The Hobbit?

                      That may be true, yes. Zoëga has:

                      dvala, v. to delay, put off
                      dvalan, f. prolongation

                      And other similar words. I've also seen the meaning "torpid" but haven't tried to track that down yet. As I mentioned earlier in the thread, I'm currently doing work on this stuff.

                      Jason Fisher

                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • John D Rateliff
                      ... I doubt it; Dvalin is one of the most famous of all dwarves in the Old Norse material, famed (among other things) as a great craftsman, and not notable for
                      Message 10 of 23 , Dec 1, 2006
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                        On Dec 1, 2006, at 5:26 PM, not_thou wrote:
                        > Encyclopedia of Arda says, that "Dwalin" could mean "dawdler" in Old
                        > Norse? And could that explain the exceptionally long life of the
                        > first dwarf to appear in The Hobbit?

                        I doubt it; Dvalin is one of the most famous of all dwarves in the
                        Old Norse material, famed (among other things) as a great craftsman,
                        and not notable for any "dawdling". In any case, the apparent
                        "exceptionally long life" of Tolkien's character is I think the
                        result of an error in the reckoning, not any intent on Tolkien's part
                        to make him the Old Took of dwarves (that distinction belonging
                        instead to Durin the First). Although, that said, it is very like
                        Tolkien to add things to characters based on subsequent research that
                        were not part of his initial inspiration; I just doubt that is the
                        case in this instance.

                        > Side-note: are my messages too long? I have noticed several
                        > references on this list to matters deemed too complicated for this
                        > format.

                        There are no rules for length, so far as I know, but short posts are
                        more likely to get responded to that long, complex ones. Changing
                        headers to reflect changing focus of a post is always welcome. And
                        trimming texts being responded to down to the relevant sections is
                        definitely good form.

                        Re. 'Tolkien Studies' vs. 'Middle-earth Studies', I think it's a
                        false dichotomy to divide them. Some things I'm interested in might
                        fall in one category, some in the other, and some cut across both.
                        It's like trying to divide Lit from Lang; it's better to consider
                        both aspects together.

                        As for Brooke-Rose, it's been too long since I read her for me to
                        respond in detail, but I thought at the time that her chief
                        shortcoming was that she was writing a book about fantasy without any
                        clear idea of what fantasy was, which made her comments seem random
                        and unfocused.

                        --JDR

                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Anglin Turcam
                        ... Great Pyre? Thank s, it s perhaps after Mr John D Ratelif the only positive opinion about this fact. I m very sad to not write as goodly as I want to speak
                        Message 11 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                          To William Cloud Hicklin :
                          >> Could it be that you're right: these names in fact did inspire the
                          Great Pyre?
                          Thank's, it's perhaps after Mr John D Ratelif the only positive opinion
                          about this fact. I'm very sad to not write as goodly as I want to speak
                          about my point of view of my 'paradox' for the 'editorial concession'
                          conceded by Pr Tolkien about his dwarves and their possible relation
                          with Old norse ones. I'm afraid that I have to say that I'm not agree
                          with that fact commonly accepted by all the Tolkien Community ... there
                          are too much things to much details to much words that make me think
                          that Tolkien did really take a lot of things from Norse Dwarves (
                          perhaps even to Norse Cosmogology about them ) to speak about a
                          simple 'concession'. I want to go farther than Mr Shippey did realy
                          goood about them, farther than the lots of ones that speak only about
                          the Names occuring in Völuspá ...


                          To Jason :
                          >> so I'd be curious to hear more about your work off-list (as you
                          suggested it was too complicated for the list). Drop me a line if you'd
                          like ...

                          Check your MailBox Jason ;)

                          >> I'd actually be interested in this too, I'm preparing lecture notes
                          on Tolkien's dwarves for a Tolkien class I'm teaching next semester.

                          I work also about other interrestings things about Tolkien's dwarves
                          like death/size/women/magical object (in fact in Letters Tolkien
                          says 'Magic is Art' and the dwarves are Aulë childrens ....). Did you
                          read french freely ?
                          I can tell you that your lecture notes can be very interresting to me
                          if you can send them to my mailbox ?

                          Anglin.
                        • alexeik@aol.com
                          ... From: solicitr@mindspring.com To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com Sent: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 7:02 PM Subject: [mythsoc] Re: About dwarves and their connection with
                          Message 12 of 23 , Dec 2, 2006
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                            -----Original Message-----
                            From: solicitr@...
                            To: mythsoc@yahoogroups.com
                            Sent: Fri, 1 Dec 2006 7:02 PM
                            Subject: [mythsoc] Re: About dwarves and their connection with nordic myth ...

                            Although I
                            believe he cribbed the Brandybucks' names (Meriadoc,
                            Gorbadoc, Saradoc) from Medieval Welsh. <<

                            That, and even more from mediaeval Cornish and Breton. Alexei >
                            .
                            AActuaActua
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                          • Larry Swain
                            ... Anglin, I ll be happy to send them along when I ve finished them, pretty basic though. And yes, I read French. ljs --
                            Message 13 of 23 , Dec 4, 2006
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                              >
                              > I work also about other interrestings things about Tolkien's dwarves
                              > like death/size/women/magical object (in fact in Letters Tolkien
                              > says 'Magic is Art' and the dwarves are Aulë childrens ....). Did you
                              > read french freely ?
                              > I can tell you that your lecture notes can be very interresting to me
                              > if you can send them to my mailbox ?
                              >
                              > Anglin.
                              >

                              Anglin,

                              I'll be happy to send them along when I've finished them, pretty basic though. And yes, I read French.

                              ljs

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